Slim pickin' and easy targets sums up our New Album Releases for this week, coming to you a day late and a dollar short. Either I'm getting soft in my old age or something is really wrong when Mariah Carey's new album isn't the most offensive item on this list. Before we mock her and the other outrages on this list, let's take a look at the new album from "Alice in Chains."
Alice in Chains
Black Gives Way to Blue
I came of age during the years when glam metal gave way to grunge. I went all in on the Seattle sound, having lived there as many of these bands were in their indie, embryonic stages. Alice in Chains was and is my favorite of them all. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, and Mudhoney are all special to me, but Alice "outshined" them all. I wasn't surprised but I was devastated the day we learned we'd lost Layne Staley forever.
I understand why Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, and Mike Inez wanted to continue on as Alice in Chains. Jerry wrote or co-wrote 90% of the material, sang on a lot of it, and is of course the lead guitarist. He's a massive part of the sound and legacy of the band. I understand them wanting to play these songs live, something they were unable to do for much of their career. I understand it. I support it… up to a point. That point? New music under the old name. Let me be clear: I'm not mad at them for doing it. I'm just not sure I can get past my own barrier. It's not them, it's me. Jerry Cantrell is still great. This record may be great. I just don't know that it can be Alice in Chains. Not for me. I haven't decided if I'm getting this disc or not. I wish them well.
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel
Her latest once again comes with a campy, pretentious title attempting depth and sophistication: Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. This comes on the heels of The Emancipation of Mimi. Some of these R&B/pop diva titles kill me. Who Is Jill Scott? Good question. Next. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. That sounds like a fun one. On How Life Is. Shoot me. So, we have Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel coming from a woman who has done her best to surgically sculpt perfection and has the emotional depth of a 12-year old girl.
You lot are going to buy this by the ton. I used to get angry at you for it. Not anymore. You can have it. I wash my hands of you.
Big & Rich
Lest you think I only take cheap shots at cheap artists, let's take aim at Big & Rich. Greatest Hits sounds a bit like wishful thinking, you ask me. They had one with "Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy," a song so vapid it embarrasses Mariah Carey. They got another bit of run on ESPN's College Gameday show with "Coming To Your City," which was incredible in its ability to make Lee Corso the second-most annoying thing about that program.
The good news is Greatest Hits can sometimes be the final chapter in a bad book, a book with a lot more pictures than words in this case. Whole Lotta Dumb…
Now for what I'm truly angriest about this week…
Jewel's Christmas album, an album I reviewed in college and for which I was awarded, made me wish I was Jewish. This one makes me consider atheism. Atheists don't have assclowns like Michael McDonald screwing up their sacred holidays. This is offensive. This is indecent. I can deal with vapid pop diva drivel from Mariah Carey. I can tolerate redneck doofuses like Big & Rich. Michael McDonald is unforgivable and a Michael McDonald Christmas album is a war crime. I can't possibly express the tonnage of my outrage.
McDonald is the "rock" equivalent of Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera and the like. Let's get this straight right now: husky warbling is no more soulful than hyperactive trills and overemotive shrieks. Michael McDonald is breaking my poor mother's heart because I'm going to skip This Christmas and every Christmas thereafter.